Lotus Elan

Steering Knuckle Joint

PostPost by: stuartgb100 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:02 pm

There seem to be two different versions of the solid steering column knuckle joint.
One seems to be slightly larger than the other.

Can anyone advise pros and cons of one versus the other, please ?

I will post photos of the two this evening, when back at home.

Regards,

Stuart.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:11 pm

Stuart

Mine (the smaller of the two) give better clearance from the lower radiator hose..

John :wink:
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PostPost by: stuartgb100 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:03 pm

Ok,

Borrowed a couple of options; see attached, please.

Regards,

Stuart.
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small IMG_0397.jpg and
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:32 pm

The one on the right in the picture is the correct (ie original) one. The other one is a universal joint, presumably originally intended for applications where the column is not in line with the pinion, but is marketed (at least by some on Ebay) as a replacement that eliminates the play from the rubber washers in the original. The main difference is that the U/J has a longer reach and so the lower column is positioned slightly further back than with the original and, as John mentioned, the clearances are tighter. I think in practice they are equally good, at least for the road. TTR sell a U/J for racing applications - I don't know whether or not it really makes a difference there.

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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:22 pm

I'd like to put my 2 cents worth in. The original joint contains rubber parts which perish over time. Not that big of a deal if replacement parts are available however they are not. When the rubber parts go, you have to either fabricate replacement rubber parts or bin the entire joint and purchase a new one. Further, as the rubber parts are not conductive, the original part requires that you install a jumper wire across the joint if you want your horn to work.

The u-joint style part has no rubber parts to wear out as it is 100% metal. This style of joint is found on practically every modern car. I have never seen one fail or even wear out and that's because if you wanted to subject it to the environment that for instance, an axle U-joint experiences, you'd have to turn your steering wheel 3,000 times or more every time you drove a mile. Another way to look at it is to think about how much wear an axle u-joint experiences after a few miles of driving. Negligible. That's how much wear a steering U-joint experiences after a lifetime of driving. As a bonus because it is all metal, there is no need to install a jumper wire for the horn.

These u-joints are available from practically any scrap yard that features smaller Japanese cars such as Civics, Proteges, and Corollas. Because they attach via clamps, they will clamp on to the Elan 1/2" steering column just as easily as they will clamp on to a Japanese 13mm steering column. The only problem is that the spline count is different so the splines won't mesh as they should. I have compensated for this by reefing on on the clamp using plenty of torque. I've had a Japanese u-joint on my car for 6 years and it has been trouble free. As they come in slightly different styles, the one on my car does not force the lower column toward the rear.

I'm betting my life that there is no way it is going to spin or come apart on its' own. If you don't trust that your's won't, for substantially more money, there are always English versions available from the Lotus suppliers that feature the correct spline count. Aside from originality, I can't think of a single reason to go back to the inferior original part.
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PostPost by: ecamiel » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:06 pm

Replacement rubbers are readily available from many Triumph sources or from Lee Chapman Racing in CT.
[email protected] phone 860.354.4479
The solid U joint is longer and moves the wheel closer to the driver.
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PostPost by: ecamiel » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:06 pm

Replacement rubbers are readily available from many Triumph sources or from Lee Chapman Racing in CT.
[email protected] phone 860.354.4479
The solid U joint is longer and moves the wheel closer to the driver.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:55 pm

I'm on the side of fitting the larger all metal UJ if you have sufficient space.
It follows my strategy of "fit & forget", which I did 10 years ago.
When I showed it to my tame "Sparks" he said there would be no need to add the earthing straps that were necessary on the Rubber bushed original.
He was correct, so another +Point. :wink:

Cheers
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PostPost by: andyelan » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:49 pm

Hi Everyone

The solid UJ type coupling is what's used on the Europa Special.

For my Plus 2, which uses the other type of joint, I made some replacemet rubbers by cutting one side off a PVC wiring grommet, The narrow portion then makes a nice spigot which fits into the recess in centre disc of the joint. I did this repair on my car 5 or 6 years ago and it's still perfectly OK.

Regards
Andy
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:59 pm

andyelan wrote:For my Plus 2, which uses the other type of joint, I made some replacemet rubbers by cutting one side off a PVC wiring grommet, The narrow portion then makes a nice spigot which fits into the recess in centre disc of the joint. I did this repair on my car 5 or 6 years ago and it's still perfectly OK.
Andy


I used fuel injection rubber hose for the same purpose. Shaped it to form the spigot by pushing a bolt through the middle of the tube, spinning it up in an electric drill and shaping it with a stanley knife. Rebuilt three of them about this time last year but the first one seems to be ok so far after about 4000 miles.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:10 pm

Frank Howard wrote:These u-joints are available from practically any scrap yard that features smaller Japanese cars such as Civics, Proteges, and Corollas. Because they attach via clamps, they will clamp on to the Elan 1/2" steering column just as easily as they will clamp on to a Japanese 13mm steering column. The only problem is that the spline count is different so the splines won't mesh as they should. I have compensated for this by reefing on on the clamp using plenty of torque.


Frank,
The spline on the steering rack pinion and the lower steering column is 9/16"-36. As Andy points out a suitable Hooke joint is used on the Europa. I bought one from the local Caterham dealer as that was what Caterham was using at the time. There is no need to deal with mismatched shaft diameters and spline counts.
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:56 pm

CBUEB1771 wrote:Frank,
The spline on the steering rack pinion and the lower steering column is 9/16"-36...There is no need to deal with mismatched shaft diameters and spline counts.

Good to hear from you Russ. I mistakenly said the Elan steering column is 1/2" and the Japanese steering columns are 13mm. You are correct in that the Elan steering column is 9/16" however the Japanese steering columns are 14mm and because we are dealing with a clamp, we are not dealing with mismatched shaft diameters.

In my earlier post, I said, "...for substantially more money, there are always English versions available from the Lotus suppliers that feature the correct spline count." I paid $2 for my Japanese joint. What did the local Caterham dealer want for yours? The reason to deal with mismatched spline counts should be apparent.
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:25 pm

I fitted the UJ version and it went straight on as the splines matched. I have the collapsible column on my car, so rather than moving the steering wheel back a bit to accomodate the increased size of the joint, I slid the lower inner column further up the upper inner column by about a cm. The steering wheel's in the original position still.

Sean.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:39 pm

Frank Howard wrote:What did the local Caterham dealer want for yours?

Frank - Memory fades as this was 25 years and nearly 100,000 miles on my +2 ago. I think it was about $25.
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:44 pm

Russ,

I rest my case.:wink:
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